Monday, December 3, 2012

In Praise of the Whiteboard

**I'll be writing about homeschooling here every Monday.  I don't have a cool thing for the top of the post yet, but I will soon!**

When I started homeschooling my eldest 1,000+ years ago, I couldn't imagine why I'd ever need a chalk/white board.  I only had one student in each grade, and could sit next to them and say stuff much more easily than standing in front of them.  I wasn't a "real teacher" after all, just a mom who owned the teacher manuals and knew how to read them.  Plus, those boards were ugly.  I didn't want to live forever in a house which looked like a school.

It worked really well for my eldest who thrives on a conversational learning style.  The more we talk about something, the better she gets it.  That's a wonderful thing for a mom who loves to talk. I thought this was how our homeschool would work, forever a dialogue between my students and me.

When my #2 started school, we struggled a bit.  I'm not even going to pretend that somehow it was as easy with him as with the first.  It didn't matter how often I explained things or showed him on his papers, it just wouldn't click.  We spent way too many years fighting against each other and completely frustrated before I realized the problem...I was trying to talk to a visual person.

Things just don't seem to resonate with him when I say them, and the pages of his notebook aren't large enough to grab his imagination...but put it on the whiteboard and Watch Out!

Writing it large seems to catch hold of something in his brain and the information I'm giving him just seems to last.  The boy who would barely eke out D's on his math started getting high B's or low A's on a regular basis.  He now does the entire math assignment, problem by problem, on the white board...and asks for more.  The standing and moving appeal to the boy in him, and the white board makes his brain all kinds of happy.

12 years ago, I said "I may be homeschooling, but I refuse to spend my life living in a house that looks like a classroom."  Today I'd tell you, "The whole world is their classroom, why not give them whatever it takes to make it work?"


Lena said...

Writing on a big whiteboard or blackboard is fun. Even high schoolers find it fun.

Joe @ Defend Us In Battle said...

In law school we utilized giant mirrors that were in many of the apartments of fellow students. (Thank you 70's deco) ... and outlined before all our finals.

It has become the best way I learn, think, and entertain people.